Clinical Support Educator - InterMed Medical
Janine Brown, RN
My role is Clinical Support Educator for InterMed Medical as part of the Wound Care team. I work alongside of team of three nurses and 5 product specialists. Our company is a New Zealand owned and operated distributor of medical devices. The main focus of my role is education and clinical support for nurses and surgeons on VAC Therapy. VAC Therapy is a negative pressure wound care device. My typical day ... well it varies a lot. Things that it might include: a change of dressing support for a District Nurse in the community, trouble shooting any complex issues with a particular patient’s wound care, a teaching session with registrars on new technology and tips on saving theatre time, a full 8 hour training day on VAC therapy, a 30 minute teaching session at handover time to nurses on the ward, supporting a nurse on the ward who is applying a VAC dressing for the first time, the list goes on.
My journey into this role started after about 15 years working on wards in various hospitals, mostly colorectal surgical focus. One day I was working on the ward, and a ADON for education in the hospital asked me if I wanted to cover the surgical nurse educator role while they were looking for a permanent nurse to fill the position. I said “No I didn’t think I can do that.”. She said “I hear you talking , but I know better.” That was the beginning of my journey as a nurse educator that saw me fill a few different roles over the next five years, and the beginning of my post grad study. I graduated from AUT with a post grad certificate in advanced nurses practice and plan to continue on to do my masters. My focus in my post grad certificate was wound care. During my time as a medical nurse educator I became interested in wound care and it has been a very interesting and rewarding experience making this the focus of my career. The jump from working for a DHB to working in a private company was a big one, but one I have really enjoyed and found very challenging. It has allowed me to specialise in an area which I love working in, and I get to work with nurses right across New Zealand. I have learnt so much, not only through study, but from the nurses in my team, and those who I have met in various DHBs.
My advice to anyone interested in a role like this... I found that having a wide general skill base across a variety of areas has been helpful before I specialised. Practice the skill of teaching others all the time and value good communication skills. For example, when discharging a patient home, make discharge planning and education important. When working with a student nurse, help them to get the best learning experience they can and when precepting a new graduate, be encouraging as it is a very hard year.
Good people skills are important, being flexible, able to plan your time well, but also think quickly. An understanding of adult learning is important because it doesn’t presume that because you have told someone something that they have learnt something. Oh and another thing – there is so much to learn, things are always changing, keep learning.